“Did you know Lutin was that old?” Jacob says.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard him speak.” Thomas says.
“Old Ben gets forgetful too. He’ll be in a couple more times and say the same thing.” Lutin says.
They listen to a commercial for sugar plums and gingerbread. No one speaks for several minutes. Even the Hens are quiet. The night outside holds an eerie silence.
“Hey there, Lutin. Can you switch it to the delivery coverage? Let’s see how everyone’s doing, Eh?” Jacob says.
Lutin clicks through several channels then settles back into his chair. The Hens move to a closer table. The anchor sits at a desk wearing a red and green suit. He doesn’t wear a hat like most elves do. Behind him is a map with many blinking lights.
“…and we’re getting reports of an accident North of Johannesburg. First Responder Emergency Elves are on the scene clearing debris and maintaining social distance from humans. Reporter Bella Tink is on the scene. Bella? How do things look down there?”
Bella wears a green long sleeve dress and a matching green hat. Her brown hair covers her ears.
“As you can see Stephen, the debris has mostly been collected. There were no serious injuries, but a couple of our birds won’t be finishing deliveries tonight. The remaining packages have already been divided around to other carriers nearby. So far everything is on schedule.”
“This is our first accident this season which is an improvement over last year.”
“That’s right Stephen. You may recall the six-bird pileup that occurred in Southern Argentina where we lost two of our carriers.”
“Let’s hope this is our only accident this season. Thank you, Bella.”
“Thank you, Stephen.”
“We’ll return to local news after this short break. I’m Stephen Gumdrop.”
Everyone in the shop lost interest and the Hens returned to their first table.
“I remember that accident. One of my coworkers lost a cousin.” Thomas says.
“Did you know him?”
“The cousin? Nah, she worked the other side of the factory. She was one of their top carriers.”
“Let’s have a toast then.”
“To good workers we lost.”